Environment

A federal court has ruled once again that Kentucky and 14 other states opposing the Environmental Protection Agency’s carbon dioxide rules need to hold their horses and wait until the rule is formally published.

The decision by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals comes after the states asked the court to issue an emergency stay of the regulations. The EPA’s Clean Power Plan will limit carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants; the rule encourages states to submit individual state plans for compliance.

In the petition for a stay, the 15 states argued that they are already spending time and money working on plans, so the court should go ahead and block the regulations until legal matters are resolved.

From the petition:

“If the deadlines in the Rule are not immediately stayed, the States will suffer significant unrecoverable costs and permanent disruption to sovereign priorities. As the States explained previously, these irreparable harms have already begun. But now that the Rule is final, the obligation to submit State Plans is indisputable and the harms will accelerate, including during the months it may take for the Final Rule to be published in the Federal Register.”

Kentucky and other states have already attempted to sue the EPA over the Clean Power Plan once; earlier this summer, a judge ruled it was premature because the rules hadn’t yet been finalized. The rules were finalized in August, but once again, the court has said the states have to wait until they’re officially published in the Federal Register before initiating legal action.

The EPA has said the rules will be published by the end of October. A spokeswoman for Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway says he “plans to join an even larger bipartisan group of states in a formal legal challenge to the Clean Power Plan when it is published in the federal register.”

Erica Peterson is WFPL's Director of News and Programming.